Alexander Pope: The Critical Heritage

By John Barnard | Go to book overview

AN ESSAY ON CRITICISM

15 May 1711


10.

Dennis's first attack on Pope

June 1711

John Dennis, from Reflections Critical and Satyrical, upon a late Rhapsody, call'd, An Essay upon Criticism (1711), in Critical Works, i. 396-414. The Reflections were published 20-9 June.

For Pope's manuscript notes towards revisions of the Essay to meet some of Dennis's objections, see Twickenham, i. 482-4. Further see J.V. Guerinot, Pamphlet Attacks on Alexander Pope (1969), pp. 5-11.

A most notorious Instance of [contemporary] Depravity of Genius and Tast, is the Essay upon which the following Reflections are writ, and the Approbation which it has met with. I will not deny but that there are two or three Passages in it with which I am not displeas'd; but what are two or three Passages as to the whole?… The approving two or Three Passages amongst a multitude of bad ones, is by no means advantageous to an Author. That little that is good in him does but set offits contrary, and make it appear more extravagant. The Thoughts, Expressions, and Numbers of this Essay are for the most part but very indifferent, and indifferent and execrable in Poetry are all one. But what is worse than all the rest, we find throughout the whole a deplorable want of that very Quality, which ought principally to appear in it, which is Judgment; and I have no Notion that where there is so great a want of Judgment, there can be any Genius…

[After an introduction, from which the preceding is taken, Dennis prints a long letter he had written on An Essay on Criticism 'To Mr-at Sunning-Hill, Berks., ' of which the following is part.]

-71-

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Alexander Pope: The Critical Heritage
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • General Editor's Preface v
  • Acknowledgments vi
  • Contents vii
  • Abbreviations xiv
  • Preface xv
  • I - Introduction 1
  • Note on the Text 39
  • Part I - Contemporary Criticism 41
  • General Reactions 43
  • Pastorals 59
  • An Essay on Criticism 71
  • Messiah, a Sacred Eclogue 87
  • Windsor Forest 89
  • The Rape of the Lock 93
  • Iliad 114
  • A Roman Catholick Version of the First Psalm 139
  • Eloisa to Abelard 140
  • Elegy to the Memory of an Unfortunate Lady 143
  • Epitaph on John Hewet and Sarah Drew in the Churchyard at Stanton Harcourt 144
  • General Reactions 147
  • Odyssey 164
  • The Dunciad 208
  • The Dunciad Variorum 219
  • General Reactions 236
  • 'Ethick Epistles' (An Abandoned Project) 263
  • Moral Essays Iv: Epistle to Burlington, of Taste 265
  • Moral Essays Iii: to Allen Lord Bathurst, of the Use of Riches 268
  • Imitations of Horace, Satire Ii. I 269
  • An Essay on Man 278
  • Epitaph on Mr. Gay in Westminster Abbey 317
  • Imitations of Horace: Serm. I. II (Sober Advice from Horace) 319
  • An Epistle from Mr. Pope to Dr. Arbuthnot 329
  • Epilogue to the Satires: Dialogue II 331
  • The New Dunciad: As It Was Found in the Year 1741 333
  • The Dunciad in Four Books 342
  • A Final Tribute 346
  • Part II - Later Criticism 351
  • Appendix A 529
  • Appendix B 532
  • Bibliography 537
  • Index 539
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